Kill A Watt

The U.S Department of Energy reports that 20% of our electric bills come from items that are left plugged in when they are not in use, or items that are in standby mode. These are referred to as phantom loads. With the Kill A Watt P4400 we can monitor the energy eaters in our homes and cut down our electric bills. Plug whatever item you want into the device and it will tell you the efficiency of that item by displaying the kilowatt per hour. This device will help you determine which items are costing you the most to run. The Kill A Watt also calculates voltage, line frequency, current, and power factor. You can calculate your electric bill before you even receive it from the electric company.

We use the P3 international P4480 monitor in our home. This is one of the most sophisticated timers on the market and yet is very easy to understand. It’s a digital version of a straightforward mechanical timer with a visual interface. It is easy to program the quarter-hour on/off periods for 7-days and 24-hours as you would program traditional mechanical timers. Unlike other timers, the graphic timer is not limited to one day of programming–the unit allows unique programs for each of the 7-days of the week. Measurements and programming are stored in memory and retained during power outages. A backup battery allows armchair programming before you even plug it in.

We did test many of our home appliances and especially our window air conditioners. We found that the cumulative cost of running all the ACs, especially some of the older ones, was much more than the predicted cost of a whole house system so we installed central AC. Besides I was tired of listening to the windows rattle.

We also found that the cost of all the “stand by” appliances, like TV’s, CPU’s, monitors, and external hard drives was about 10% of our electric bill. This doesn’t include the amount of heat generated.  We invested in timers to turn off the TVs and such at night. Now that we use “in the cloud” instantaneous back up systems we no longer need to keep the hard drives spinning all night.  I either turn them off or rely on a timer.  APC makes a very nice surge protector with a built in power saving timer (APC P6GC)